Professional Development Offerings

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Course Date(s):

September 28, 2022
8:30 - 11:30AM

Unless otherwise noted, course times listed are in EST

Registration Deadline:

September 27, 2022


Face to Face




3 Hours of Completion

Grad Credit:


$65 TEC Members; $75 Non-TEC Members


TEC Professional Learning Center


K-12 Administrators

Legal Issues In Special Education: What’s New?

As we move into the 2022-2023 school year, schools continue to grapple with the aftereffects of the pandemic. The documented sharp rise in mental health challenges has led to schools’ increased concerns about discipline, the need to hold manifestation determinations, and increases in school avoidance/phobias/anxiety. In addition, districts are receiving requests for home/hospital instruction and wondering how to respond given the shortage of qualified staff to provide those services. Finally, districts are seeking an increase in DCF involvement which may lead to students moving to temporary placements. These and similar challenges will be addressed in this workshop presentation with time for discussion and questions.

About the Instructor

Mary Ellen Sowyrda is a partner in the Murphy, Hesse, Toomey, and Lehane, LLP law firm. As the head of the Special Education Department, she is involved with all aspects of litigation and alternative dispute resolution at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, including representing clients at hearings, settlement conferences, pre-hearing conferences and mediation. She provides clients with advice on school-related legal issues including all aspects of special education, Section 504, student discipline, student records and anti-bullying laws, and deals with DESE and other state agencies that are associated with the provision of special education services to students. Ms. Sowyrda is a Phi Beta Kappa summa cum laude graduate of Boston College and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has been annually named a Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine from 2006 to the present.

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